Johnathan Abram had himself a busy Wednesday, and it included a heated debate with ESPN analyst Stephen A. Smith. The Oakland Raiders safety made his way around the media during the team’s bye week. He may be out for the season with an injury, but it hasn’t kept him from hopping into the spotlight from time to time.
The outspoken rookie has embraced the silver and black and is ready to defend the team against the harshest detractors. And this included the aforementioned Smith, who’s known for pulling no punches with his comments.
Johnathan Abram Argues With Stephen A. Smith Over Derek Carr
One thing that was clear from Hard Knocks was that quarterback Derek Carr and Johnathan Abram have already formed a bond. An interaction between the two sparked the whole SAM-on vs. SAL-mon debate. While Abram appeared on ESPN’s First Take, host Stephen A. Smith was about to go on some kind of tangent about Carr before Abram cut him off.
“He’s a winner”, said Abram about Carr while Smith was talking. “The most fourth-quarter comebacks since 2015 is Derek Carr.”
“How many games do you think y’all won over the last couple of years?” replied Smith.
“It’s doesn’t matter, he’s a winner,” said Abram, continuing to defend his quarterback.
“I’m just stating a fact,” said Abram, citing Carr’s fourth-quarter comebacks while Smith attempted to expand on his own argument. “We’re on TV. What do you do? State facts, right? That’s a fact.”
Flabbergasted, Smith had no reply to Abram. The exchange is definitely worth a watch and it starts around the five-minute mark above.
Not counting this season, Carr is tied with Detroit Lions signal-caller Matthew Stafford for the most fourth-quarter comebacks in the NFL since 2015 with 11, so the rookie’s facts are correct. Abram going on TV and standing up to a heavyweight like Smith is impressive and should earn him a lot of points with Carr, who has a history with the controversial journalist.
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Abram Says Media Misrepresented the Antonio Brown Distraction
Johnathan Abram also appeared on ESPN’s Get Up where he had a chance to talk about Antonio Brown and the drama that hit the team during training camp and shortly before the season. Brown’s helmet issue was among the topics, and it played a part in him missing practice for an extended period during training camp.
“The reason why the AB situation was boring was because the media was trying to make it a story,” said Abram. “I mean, they didn’t really let the man be himself … They had this dialogue of what they thought it was going to be like with him being there and it wasn’t like that.
“It really wasn’t a distraction for us,” said Abram when asked about the whole Antonio Brown experience. “We were preparing like we didn’t have him from the start.”
There was no shortage of media coverage during Brown’s tenure in Oakland, but based on how the Raiders have performed thus far, it does seem like they were prepared to not have him this season. While things didn’t work out with Brown, the Raiders could be one elite wide receiver away from true playoff contention. Though Oakland won’t have Abram for the rest of the year, there’s no doubt that they have a star on their hands. Hopefully, his play will match his off-the-field persona once he gets healthy.